Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Government Debt Discharge Programs or Bankruptcy - Misleading TV Advertising

Last year a multitude of TV commercials were running for loan modification companies, citing the government program “Hope for Homeowners” and “Making Home Affordable”. Many of these commercials had video of President Obama and strong wording about the governmental program.

Recently, a similar looking commercial has been airing, citing a government program for debt discharge. The commercial leads one to believe that it is a new program and now available. However, it is really just add for a debt relief agency, offer bankruptcy filing help, under the US Bankruptcy Code.

There is no Federal credit card debt relief stimulus program – the ads are just desperate sales pitches. Often, the exact same ad runs, with a different toll free number. Essentially, bankruptcy attorneys and debt relief agencies are buying calls from the commercials, by having each phone number route to them as the advertising agreement calls out.

A much more effective way to help people is to be honest, and be found by people who need your help. For example, to best help people on the California Central Coast, a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Santa Barbara, CA has a informative website that caters to people in the area, with unique content photos of the nearby area. This is what helps people make good decisions, not a misleading Ad on TV that doesn't provide insight about credit card debt discharge.  If you needed held what would you do?

Monday, 29 March 2010

Dallas Settles Police 'Bait Car' Suit

Sometimes justice moves slowly. Governments are defined by their layers of red tape and procedure, intended on the surface to make sure everyone receives a fair experience. In practice however, the delays and weights put around government officials simply delay the execution of justice for those who need it most, when they need it most.

In June of 2008, Anna Tovar Reyes was struck and killed by a thief in a stolen vehicle. It has taken the nearly two years of intervening time for her family to reach a settlement with the Dallas city government in the wrongful death suit following her case. The car was provided for the thief by the city of Dallas, in the form of bait. It was part of a police program to leave out specially modified bait cars, equipped with cameras, GPS units, and a kill-switch, where thieves could grab them. This was intended as an effort to apprehend the city's more elusive auto thieves.

It is not the city's fault that the thief stole this particular car, of course. However, it took officers 27 seconds to activate the kill switch. In those 27 seconds, Reyes was hit and killed. The delay in action cost her the final years of her life, and the delay since has cost her family the comfort of closure. However, the city acknowledged that there was sufficient evidence to warrant offering a settlement to the family, given the specific facts of the case. If the car hadn't been present, or if the officers had been able to override the vehicle faster, Reyes would very likely still be alive.

Reyes' family will receive $245,000 in compensation for Anna's wrongful death. Nothing can replace the time lost or the memories, but in this instance patience has lead to justice in the end. This is the norm for wrongful death cases - time is required to sort through all the information available, and there are sadly few things that can be done to expedite the process.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Spinal Cord Injuries

Across the US, approximately 250,000 people suffer from some kind of spinal cord injury. Auto and truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, workplace accidents, assaults and violence - any of these can cause spinal cord injuries. A person with a spinal cord injury may have his sense of feeling lowered, and an impaired ability to move.

People with serious spinal cord injury may be divided into two - those who suffer from quadriplegia, or quadriplegics, and those who suffer from paraplegia, or paraplegics. A quadriplegic will have loss of movement in both the upper and lower limbs, while paraplegics will have loss of movement only in the lower limbs.

Besides limited movement, there are other effects of spinal cord injury. These include:

  • Loss of sensation
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Muscular weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Numbness in the hands and legs

There is much that we don't know about these injuries, and their treatment continues to be limited at best. Beyond a certain point of treatment, the only hope for a patient may be to make adjustments and modifications to his lifestyle to enable him to continue living as full a life as possible, even with his physical limitations.

Any accident that involves a spinal cord injury immediately becomes more complex to litigate. A spinal cord injury claim is unlike any simple accident claim which can be settled quickly, and with little fuss. Treatment for these injuries are very limited, and its therefore important for your California spinal cord injury lawyer to factor in expenses associated not just with short-term recovery, but also long-term rehabilitation and care.

It's important to understand that these expenses include not just medical expenses over a lifetime, but also the costs associated with modifying the victim's lifestyle to enable him to live a fulfilling life. These include modifications to his home and vehicle, as well as the need for additional care to help him with his daily needs.

There has been a lot of excitement about the role that stem cell therapy could play in spinal cord injury treatment. While these developments are encouraging, it is likely to be several years before any of these therapies are fully developed to the extent that they can be used in spinal cord injury patients, allowing them to use their limbs again.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Catholic Church Says Abuse Figures Are Down to Lowest Levels in Years

A report released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops says that the sex abuse scandal that rocked the church this decade, is beginning to wind down. Not only are the numbers of abused victims lower than they were in past years, but the number of allegations and church payouts made to victims of abuse, have also declined.

Abuse-related costs incurred by dioceses around the country touched $104 million in 2009, compared to a total of $376 million in 2008. These costs include settlements paid out to victims, lawyers’ fees and other costs. Thus far, the sex abuse scandal has cost the US Catholic Church upwards of $2 billion. According to experts, although the number of settlements has dropped, the Church can't continue to pay out more settlements like this for much longer.

Victims groups have their doubts about the declining figures. They say that it may be optimistic to believe such figures from a highly secretive organization that succeeded in hiding abuse of priests for decades. Besides, even as the Catholic Church is finding that its troubles in America are petering off, new troubles are unfolding in Europe. The Catholic Church in Germany, Austria and Ireland are facing a crisis, rocked by abuse scandals that have ended up tainting the Vatican. Allegations of cover-ups have emerged, and it looks like it'll take more than just an apology from the pontiff in Vatican City to placate these victims. These cases of sexual abuse by clergymen in Europe could very likely have a ripple effect in the US, leading to more victims coming forward.

It's hard for a Las Vegas sexual abuse lawyer to imagine what the church expects us to do with these new findings. Are we supposed to pat the Church on its back for being less able to hide these abusive priests than it was able to do decades earlier? Isn't it a fact that the crushing litigation and settlement costs of these abuse claims, have contributed to the Church cracking down harder on such clergy?

Monday, 22 March 2010

Burn Injuries

Unless you've actually suffered serious burns, it's hard to understand the suffering these victims go through. Burn injuries easily fall into the category of catastrophic injuries. These are also some of the most debilitating injuries with victims often being left with a lifetime of scarring and disfigurement. Burn injury claims therefore often qualify for pain and suffering damages, as well as damages for disfigurement and scarring

Burn injuries can occur in auto accidents, refinery explosions, from toxic chemical exposure and other causes. Burn injuries in an auto accident often result from gas tank explosions post-impact. In cases like this your California burn injury lawyer will name the motorist involved in the accident, as well as the automaker in a claim. Burn injuries arising from auto accidents were especially common in the 70’s when Ford Pinto cars were found to be especially susceptible to gas tank explosions in rear-end collisions.

Electrical workers, workers in oil and gas refineries, and chemical plants may be at high risk for burn injuries.

The most famous burn injury lawsuit of all times is likely the one involving McDonald's and a customer who was burned from scalding coffee that was spilt on her thighs. That lawsuit has been used by the tort reform lobby to argue about so-called "runaway frivolous lawsuits." Not many people however know that the coffee that injured Stella Liebeck was not just hot, but scalding, and capable of causing instantaneous burns.

During the trial, it emerged that McDonald's had been aware of several such incidents involving 700 people, who suffered similar burn injuries from scalding coffee. McDonald’s also had a policy in place that required keeping coffee at temperatures between 180° and 190°. This was in spite of the fact that a burn injury was a very real hazard whenever a person handled foods or beverages above 140°.

There's also very little attention paid to the fact that Liebeck suffered extensive third-degree burns to her groin and genital area, which required skin grafts and an extended hospital stay. She was a 79-year-old woman, and subjected to extreme pain and suffering because of her burns.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Nevada Amputation Accident Attorneys

Amputations are some of the most serious injuries that a person can suffer. An amputation refers to the loss of a limb or part of a limb, either partially or completely. Amputations typically occur in auto and motorcycle accidents, in the workplace, or from the use of defective products.

When a person suffers serious injuries in a Las Vegas car or motorcycle accident, doctors may have no choice, but to separate the severely damaged limb from the body. In other cases, amputations occur naturally through the force of the accident. In either case, injury claims can be made against the parties responsible for the injury.

Amputations in the workplace are typically linked to the logging and construction industries. The use of sharp machines, powerful tools and rotating equipment can expose a person to risk of injury, when the limb comes in contact with blades or rotators. Defective design of equipment can also contribute to an amputation. For instance, industrial machines that have a high risk of causing injury to a user, must come with sufficient safeguards that protect the user from getting too close to the blades, or turn the machine off if a person's limb gets too close to the blades.
Treatment for Amputations

Treatment for amputation will include re-attaching the limb or part. However, this can depend on several factors. For instance, if the limb has suffered severe tissue or nerve damage, as in the case of crushing injuries, it may not be possible to reattach the limb. Success rates may also be higher for the attachment of upper limbs than lower limbs. If the affected area has been starved of blood for a long time, the reattachment may not be successful. It's also important that the limb that has to be reattached, is immediately found and kept in ice, to allow for the implantation.

An amputee may find that the process of re-attachment, and then learning to use the limb all over again, can be a long and complex one. The surgeries involved in re-attaching a limb are extremely precise and sensitive. Once the surgery has been successful, the person may have to undergo months of therapy to learn to reuse the newly reattached limb. It's also very likely that the amputee may suffer from a certain degree of loss of strength in the affected part. This means that returning to his old job is not possible.

A claim for amputation therefore, must take into consideration not just the high cost of treatment for these injuries, but also the lost income and future lost earning potential because of the amputation.

If you or a loved one has suffered an amputation due to the negligence of another person, contact a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer to learn your rights.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Fractured Legs

Fractured legs, also referred to as broken legs, are some of the most common injuries in auto/truck/motorcycle or industrial accidents. These may seem like minor injuries, but can have a serious impact on how quickly you can get back on your feet, quite literally, and be able to get on with your life after an accident.

To understand how a fracture can occur, it is important to understand the several bones that make up your leg. The human leg is made up of four bones - the femur, the tibia, the patella, and the fibula. A fracture can involve breaking up of any of these bones into two or more pieces.

Fractured legs are commonly seen in:
  • Car and truck accidents
  • Bicycle and motorcycle accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • ATV accidents
  • Skiing accidents
While the above are typically trauma fractures, leg fractures can also result from repetitive stress. Such structures are known as stress fractures. For instance, the kind of pressure that an athlete or a marathon runner is under, can cause the bones to be placed under stress, and eventually split.

Typically, a leg fracture will involve the following symptoms:
  • Extreme pain in the area
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Angulation
Leg fractures can be of several types. These include:
  • Open fractures
  • Closed fractures
  • Spinal fractures
  • Comminuted fractures
  • Proximal fractures
  • Transverse fractures
  • Distal fractures
Even a simple fracture can have you off your feet for several days and weeks while the bone heals. Multiple fractures may take a longer healing time. In any case, a person involved in an accident who suffers a fractured leg, is looking at heavy medical bills, lost wages from days off work, and physical therapy and rehabilitation costs.

A claim for a fractured leg will not be the same in every situation. Two different persons suffering from the same kind of leg fracture in two different accidents, may not be eligible for the same kind of payout. There are a number of factors for your Nevada personal injury lawyer to consider before arriving at the claim amount. These include:
  • Severity of the fracture
  • Intensity of treatment
  • Whether surgeries were required
  • Pain and suffering involved during the fracture
  • Suffering during the treatment
Besides, the specific loss to the person must be considered. A fractured leg may be a bigger loss to a professional ballet dancer, and not so much to the next person.

Monday, 15 March 2010

CPSC Issues Warnings about Dangers of Suffocation from Baby Slings

On Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about the dangers of suffocation to infants carried in baby slings. According to the agency, it is investigating at least 14 reports of deaths of infants who were placed in the slings. At least 12 of these deaths involved infants below the age of four months. Three of the deaths occurred in 2009.

The CPSC seems to have isolated a few common factors in these incidents. Most of these deaths involved:
  • A low birth weight twin
  • Premature babies
  • Babies with a cold or other breathing issues
The agency is urging parents who have low weight babies, preemies and babies with a respiratory problem to consult their pediatricians before placing their infants in a sling.

Baby slings have become very popular in recent years, as parenting styles have moved towards "wearing" babies. The slings come in many styles. One of the most popular has been the bag sling, which allows the person to wear the sling across the shoulder, and have the baby lying close to the mother's stomach. The risk comes when the baby's head flops forward and onto its chest. This could hamper breathing, and cause suffocation. The danger also comes when the baby's head is nestled against the mother's body.

One particular brand of slings has come under fire for defective design. Sling Rider from Infantino has been named in a wrongful death lawsuit arising from the death of a week-old baby who was placed in a bag sling. Child safety experts also point out that babies before four months of age, who still have no control over their head and neck, may not be the ideal infants for a sling.

If you still love the sling, California product liability attorneys would advise that you:
  • Only use a sling that does not settle your baby into a fetal position with his head touching his chest.
  • Check that there's no danger of suffocation from the baby turning its head towards the carrier.
  • Wait until your baby can hold his neck steady and his head up, before you place him in a sling.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

California Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Harassment, Retaliation and Threats of Violence

A complaint filed in the United District Court for the Eastern District of California cites a hostile work environment, rife with undesirable practices of the kind that employment lawyers in California see so often - gender discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and other forms of workplace harassment.

Three persons have filed a complaint against the Lassen Municipal Utility District alleging gender discrimination, violation of civil rights, sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment, threats of violence in the workplace, retaliation, and wrongful discharge under California labor codes. Two of these are veteran employees of the district, while the third is a former employee.

In her complaint, Connie Devlyne says that she was subject to a hostile workplace discrimination based on her gender. According to Devlyne, over the years, she suffered from the “offensive“ conduct of her coworkers, and had brought these problems to the attention of the management. In spite of repeated such attempts, management failed to take action to prevent the harassment or discrimination. According to Devlyne, even when she complained, co-workers engaged in retaliatory behavior like paying pranks, or chose to shun her.

The second complaint has been filed by Paul Glau, who alleges that he was made to work in a hostile environment because of his support of Devlyne. This retaliation took several forms, including making Glau perform dangerous work tasks. During one such task, Glau was forced to perform an activity that ended in an explosion and exposure to dangerous substances. According to him, the explosion was the result of sabotage by coworkers who were angered by his support of Devlyne.

Glau retired from his position as a facilities manager at the Lassen Municipal Utility District in December last year. According to the complaint, the district retaliated for his support of Devlyne by making up charges of misconduct against him, and proposing that he be terminated from his position. He was given an ultimatum that if he did not retire before the year 2009 ended, he would be fired.

The third complainant, Krsto Knezevich also names retaliation for his support of Devlyne’s sexual harassment complaint as well as his own conduct in complaining about hazardous substances, for retaliatory treatment by coworkers. .

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Increase in Female Drunk Driving Offenders has Nevada Injury Lawyers Concerned

Yet another new study throws new perspective on a growing problem that is sure to concern Mothers against Drunk Driving and accident lawyers in Nevada. A study shows that the numbers of young women driving in an impaired state is steadily increasing, while the same rates for men are showing a downward trend.

This recent study was published in the February issue of Injury Prevention. Researchers studied data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 1995 and 2007. They found that the rates of female motorists involved in fatal drunk driving accidents over the years, have increased significantly. The researchers used data in five separate age groups -16-year-olds, 17-year-olds, 18-year-olds, 19 and 20 year olds and 21 to 24 year olds. They also studied data based on blood alcohol levels in a crash from 0.1gd/l to 0.15 gd/l.

The researchers found that there had been 179,891 fatal accidents involving drivers between the age of 16 and 24. Out of these, accident rates involving young men declined by about 2.5% per 100,000 people. This drop was seen mostly in young men between the age of 16 and 20. The rate stayed the same for young men between the age of 21 and 24.

The greatest spike in accident rates was seen in motorists with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 GDL or more. Among men, the accident rates for this group increased by 2.4%. Significantly, the accident rate for women with a GDL of .15 or higher, also increased at the rate of 2%. However, the increase in the proportion of young motorists in fatal car accidents who tested positive for alcohol after an accident, was greater in young women than in young men.

There was an increase in the accident rate during weekdays for young women, which rose by 3.5%. The rate of accidents during the weekends, increased by 2.2%. In comparison, for young men, the rate of increase in accidents during weekdays was just 1.5%, while the rate of increase in accidents during weekends, was just .4%.

These statistics show that drunk driving rates among women, are rising steadily. This should be a matter of great concern not just to young woman and their families, but also injury lawyers in Nevada and organizations like Mothers against Drunk Driving. While much of this increase can be attributed to the fact that women are more independent now, and there is little frowning on social drinking by women, the fact is also that law enforcement agencies in Nevada have done little to focus specifically on female drunk drivers.

Monday, 8 March 2010

More Trouble for Glaxo: Company Sued by California County for Avandia Risks

A beleaguered Glaxo Smith Kline, already reeling from stinging criticism from a US Senate report linking its anti-diabetes drug Avandia to increased heart disease rates, is now facing a lawsuit from Santa Clara County in California. The county alleges that Glaxo concealed these risks from consumers. The pharmaceutical negligence lawsuit seeks compensation for providers, as well as patients.

According to the lawsuit filed by Santa Clara County, the county has incurred heavy medical expenses treating Avandia users who have suffered heart attacks after taking the type II diabetes drug. Lawyers say that Santa Clara County runs its own healthcare centers and treats indigent patients, and therefore, its losses are much heavier than those suffered by other counties. According to the lawsuit, Santa Clara County spent approximately $2 million on Avandia between 1999 and 2007. It also incurred heavy costs, treating patients who suffered heart failure, heart attacks and other cardiac conditions brought on by Avandia use.

This is believed to be the first government lawsuit against Glaxo Smith Kline. It comes after a US Senate Finance Committee report that strongly criticized the pharmaceutical giant for concealing the risks associated with Avandia use. The report was the result of a two-year study of the main ingredient in Avandia, Rosiglitazone. The report found what California pharmaceutical product liability attorneys have been saying for a while now - that Avandia users were at a higher risk of heart disease compared to Actos, a competing drug. The report also found that Glaxo Smith Kline was likely aware of the increased risks of heart disease in Avandia users much before such evidence was made public.

While Glaxo rebutted the report findings with a 30-page report of its own defending Avandia, the company is likely to face increasing number of lawsuits from government agencies who allege that Glaxo concealed Avandia's dangers, at high risk to patient safety. The Senate report on Glaxo’s negligence, as well as a recent recommendation by two Food and Drug Administration scientists that Avandia be pulled off the market, will likely spur lawsuits from other governmental agencies around the country.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Federal Aviation Administration to Investigate Pilot Fatigue as a Factor in Plane Crashes

Last year's Cogan Air plane crash near Buffalo, New York was linked at least in part to pilot fatigue. The two pilots had apparently slept very little in the 24 hours preceding the fatal flight. The Federal Aviation Administration is now taking steps to ensure that pilot fatigue-related air crashes are minimized. The agency has announced that it will ask airlines how much sleep pilots have before flights.

Pilot fatigue, as a factor in plane crashes, burst into the limelight when the Continental connection flight crashed into a neighborhood near Buffalo. All 49 people on board were killed, and one person on the ground also suffered fatal injuries. The captain of the plane Marvin Renslow had traveled from Florida to New Jersey, from where the plane took off, three days before the fatal crash. Out of the three nights before the accident, he had spent two nights in a crew lounge which had no beds. The copilot, Rebecca Shaw had reported for duty that day after traveling all night from Seattle where she rented a home, to New Jersey.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board blamed lack of sleep and pilot fatigue for the crash. Both pilots, the NTSB report confirmed, slept little in the hours before the crash.

Aviation accident lawyers will tell you that the problem is not unique or exclusive to the Colgan Air crash. In fact, problems of pilot fatigue are very common among low-cost regional carriers that typically tend to pay their pilots lower salaries. Poorly paid pilots are unable to rent homes near the major hubs. This means that they have longer distances to travel before they can report to work. The result is lack of sleep, tiredness and drowsiness. All of this can affect pilot performance, as was clear to see in the Colgan Air crash.

Low-cost regional carriers’ cost cutting preferences have also come under the microscope. Federal regulators believe this industry encourages pilot fatigue by paying low wages, which discourage pilots from renting hotel rooms close to the hub. Federal agencies have already broached the question about whether carriers can limit commuting times for pilots in order to decrease the effect of fatigue.